Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content


Thursday, 20 April 2017 - 9:26am

New report calls for UN to add Saudi Arabia-led coalition to list of perpetrators of grave violations against children. At least 160 attacks on medical facilities and personnel by all warring parties over past two years, including deadly airstrike on children’s hospital.


A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia in Yemen must be named in the UN’s annual list of perpetrators of child rights violations for carrying out repeated attacks on medical facilities and personnel, a new report says today.

The report, by Save the Children and Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, documents a series of deadly attacks on hospitals and medics over the past two years – and calls on UN Secretary General António Guterres to add the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to his list of those responsible for grave violations of children’s rights in conflict.


In 2016 then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon briefly listed the coalition for killing children and attacking schools and hospitals in Yemen, only to later remove it after pressure from Saudi Arabia. This year’s UN report on Children and Armed Conflict is due to be published in the coming months.


Appearing on the list is an international embarrassment for states and non-state actors, which can usually only be removed after meeting UN-verified benchmarks for ending and preventing violations.


All warring parties in Yemen have been implicated in at least 160 attacks on medical facilities and personnel over the past two years, including destroying and damaging hospitals.


In one documented case, two infants in incubators reportedly died from a lack of oxygen after a paediatric hospital in Sana’a was damaged in an airstrike by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.


Repeated violations by the coalition have been verified in multiple UN reports and by credible human rights organisations.


The conflict has also forced more than half of Yemen’s medical facilities out of action. Even those that remain now face severe shortages of medicine and equipment in the face of a de facto maritime blockade imposed by the coalition on Yemen’s main port of Hodeidah, the country’s lifeline for food and essential supplies. Warring parties have detained aid workers and hampered the delivery of food and medicine by land.


Christine Monaghan, Research Officer at Watchlist, said:


“The UN Secretary-General cannot bow to pressure from Saudi Arabia, but must hold the Saudi Arabia-led coalition responsible for repeated attacks on medical facilities and staff. They are leading to the closure of hospitals, compromising children’s access to treatment, and increasing rates of injury and disease.”


Grant Pritchard, Interim Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen, said:


“For two years bombs have been landing on hospitals, homes, and schools. On the ground our teams are helping children who have been physically and mentally scarred, and are supporting hospitals that are now forced to hold damaged incubators together with sticking tape. All parties have been responsible for the unnecessary deaths of children in Yemen, and the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is among them. Those responsible must be held to account.”




The full report “Every Day Things are Getting Worse” The Impact on Children of Attacks on Health Care in Yemen can be accessed here: http://watchlist.org/about/report/yemen


Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict Media Contact: Vesna Jaksic Lowe; vesnajaksic@gmail.com / + 1 (917) 374-2273


Save the Children Media Contact: Ruairidh (Rory) Villar r.villar@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 20 7012 6841 (+44 7831 650 409 out of hours) 




  • More than half of the health facilities assessed in 16 of the 22 assessed governorates in Yemen are closed or partially functioning due to the conflict,  leaving over 14.8 million people in need of basic healthcare including 8.1 million children(UN OCHA)
  • Yemen is facing the largest food security emergency in the world with 17 million food insecure people: 6.8 million people in IPC Phase 4 ‘emergency’ – one stage before famine – and 10.2 million people in IPC Phase 3 ‘crisis’. There are 3 million (or 20%) more food insecure people in March 2017 compared to June 2016 (IPC Report, 15 March 2017)
  • According to UN OCHA 7,469 people have been killed and 40,483 injured (47,952 total casualties) between March 2015 and 31 December 2016. 
    • According to OHCHR, between March 2015 and 23 February 2017, 4,667 civilians killed and 8,180 injured since March 2015.
    • The ongoing conflict has had a devastating impact on children. According to UNICEF, between 26 March 2015 and 28 February 2017, at least 1,546 children were killed and 2,450 others maimed. These verified cases through the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (UN MRM) are just considered to be the “tip of the iceberg.”